This is an interesting costs case whereby three Claimants issued proceedings against the Defendant. Two of the Claimants settled their claims and the third one went on to trial and lost. The issue of costs liability was considered at the Court of Appeal and it was held that regardless of the fact that two of the Claimants had already settled their claims and it was agreed by the Trial Judge that no costs were to be paid by the first two claimants, they were in fact still liable to contribute to the costs to be paid by the third Claimant to the Defendant. It was therefore ordered that the first two Claimants contribute to the costs payable.
Main point to note from this case
The Judge held in this case that “the Judge fell into error at paragraph 6 of his costs judgment when he held that the settlement agreement was a sufficient reason for refusing the contribution claim. That is to mis-state the significance and effect of the settlement agreement”.
What can be learnt from this is in any case where there are joint Claimants, it cannot assumed that because one or more Claimants are successful, they are automatically omitted from any liability for costs payable by the unsuccessful joint Claimant. As the Judge provided, “in a multi-party action the Court has power under CPR 44.2 to order that Party A should contribute to the costs payable by Party B to their mutual adversary. In the unusual facts of this case it is appropriate to exercise that power”.
If you have any questions or queries in relation to this blog please contact Kirsty Black (firstname.lastname@example.org and 0113 222 3245) or the Clarion Costs Team on 0113 2460622.